How to enable AV1 support on YouTube - gHacks Tech News

How to enable AV1 support on YouTube

AV1 is a new media codec that is being integrated into various web browsers such as Mozilla Firefox or Google Chrome at the moment. The codec is developed by a consortium of companies and positioned as a royalty-free alternative to the non open codecs H.264 and H.265.

Av1 promises smaller file sizes without impacting the quality of the video stream.

Google published a test playlist of AV1 encoded and supporting videos on the YouTube website recently. The core idea behind the playlist is to give developers and users options to test the functionality, performance, and other metrics of AV1 encoded videos on the YouTube site.

AV1 support is limited at the time of writing and preparations are in order to add support at this point in time. Chrome users need to run at least version 70 of the web browser, Firefox users at least version 63 of the browser.

Firefox users need to modify a preference in the browser as well to enable Av1 support; this is done by loading about:config?filter=media.av1.enabled in the browser's address bar and flipping the preference to True with a double-click on the preference name.

Note that YouTube may display the "you need" instructions for Firefox even if you have set the preference to True already.

youtube av1 support

Load the Testtube page on YouTube afterward to enable support for AV1. Scroll down on the page until you come to the Av1 section on it.

The AV1 video codec provides advanced compression, bringing you smoother streaming in HD and data savings for more video on the go.

Because it is new, streaming AV1 in HD requires a powerful computer, and only some videos have AV1 available at this time. Choosing to stream AV1 in SD will use AV1 up to 480p, and VP9 for higher formats.

The default setting is Auto but you may switch it to "Prefer AV1 for SD" or "Always Prefer AV1". Note that Av1 playback requires a computer that is more powerful when compared to previous codecs that YouTube uses right now to stream videos to user devices.

You could select "Always Prefer AV1" and see how well your device performs when you play videos on YouTube that support AV1. If playback is choppy or pushing the resources to a high level, you'd want to consider selecting "prefer Av1 for SD" instead which limits AV1 codec playback to 480p and lower resolution videos.

Once you have made the selection you may point your browser to the AV1 test playlist on YouTube to start playback of videos that support the codec.

youtube av1

You probably wonder how to find out if a video uses the AV1 codec or another for playback. You can find that out by right-clicking on the video and selecting the Stats for Nerds entry of the context menu.

Check the Codecs listing; if you see av01 there AV1 codec is used.

Now You: Is AV1 support something that gets you excited?

Summary
How to enable AV1 support on YouTube
Article Name
How to enable AV1 support on YouTube
Description
Find out how to enable AV1 codec support on YouTube in Firefox 63 and Chrome 70 or newer right now to use the new codec on the video site.
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Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. Mark Hazard said on September 13, 2018 at 2:27 pm
    Reply

    Is AV1 support something that gets you excited?
    Yawn…

  2. Aegis said on September 13, 2018 at 2:35 pm
    Reply

    I would not use it until it gets GPU hardware acceleration.

  3. AR87 said on September 13, 2018 at 2:39 pm
    Reply

    > Is AV1 support something that gets you excited?

    Of course! It’s such a big win for the web that AV1 is finally there!

  4. Yuliya said on September 13, 2018 at 3:32 pm
    Reply

    Completely uninterested. On a scale of 1 to 10 I just can’t show how little interest I have in this crap. They keep changing it every couple of years. We barely got any h265 adoption and now we get this. Absolutely nothing is able to decode this properly. Hell, nothing is able to play this kind of files on my PC. I tried VLC, MPV and Firefox, all failed to play.

    This really is the kind of situation: “hey see this super duper new and awesome (no, it’s not, it’s absolute junk from my pov) kind of file your PC is unable to decode? worry not, we’ll sell you a brand new PC!!”. I’m sorry, what is wrong with h264? From a user perspective, absolutely nothing. I don’t care about whatever patents and copyrights b/s. Nobody does. Nobody did care about this sorts of things with MP3. I remember everyone on the internet wanting to replace MP3 with OGG, AAC or whatever crap they could come up with. What happened? Nothing! Because MP3 is the best lossy audio format. What will happen with h264? Nothing, because it is the best lossy video format.

    I don’t care about 10% bandwidth savings. I have no bandwidth restrictions to begin with. Why would anyone want a codec which will suffocate their PC while watching a 720p video over one which their PC is able to decode almost idling at 4k?

    1. Anonymous said on September 13, 2018 at 4:46 pm
      Reply

      not everyone has high speed connection and high specs pc like you. the reason why h265 is not used wide yet is because of the high licensing cost. read more here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AV1

      by commenting here means that you care, isn’t it ironic?

      1. Yuliya said on September 13, 2018 at 5:40 pm
        Reply

        >not everyone has high speed connection and high specs pc
        Now that is exactly why you would want h264. It’s easily decoded on any device released in the past.. idk, 15 years? Probably more.

    2. chesscanoe said on September 13, 2018 at 5:08 pm
      Reply

      I have a fast internet connection, and do not provide content to the world. I do not sell heat sinks or fans or electricity. Why do I as a consumer want this codec even though it is a cute solution, as most people now have fast internet? This codec is a day late and a dollar short solution for these times.

      1. John Fenderson said on September 13, 2018 at 5:33 pm
        Reply

        The codec should be of interest to everyone who is concerned about issues like having open standards available for everyone to use, the ability for people who aren’t wealthy to produce video, the the rising level of corporatocracy, and so forth.

      2. Yuliya said on September 13, 2018 at 5:38 pm
        Reply

        Well, it’s not like you are going to be charged a tax for uploading a video encoded with h264 on YouTube, is it? Were you ever charged for uploading an .MP3 on the internet? I guess not. I wasn’t at least.

      3. John Fenderson said on September 13, 2018 at 7:09 pm
        Reply

        No, you’re charged for the encoding software. But that’s not even really the main point for AV1 proponents. It’s more about patent encumbrance in standards.

      4. Yuliya said on September 13, 2018 at 10:29 pm
        Reply

        Well, Handbrake is free software. It’s open source. So is ffmpeg. Both can be used to encode h264.

    3. Ivan said on September 13, 2018 at 6:34 pm
      Reply

      > Hell, nothing is able to play this kind of files on my PC. I tried VLC, MPV and Firefox, all failed to play.

      You’re playing with early-adopting technology. If you don’t have a powerful PC, you shouldn’t be playing with AV1 at the moment.

      > I remember everyone on the internet wanting to replace MP3 with OGG, AAC or whatever crap they could come up with. What happened? Nothing!

      Not even a single big media company (or Apple) tried to enforce OGG to the mainstream.
      AV1 is backed by Mozilla, Google (Youtube), Netflix and a lot of big companies. It’s not a question IF it will succeed, but HOW LONG we will wait until it succeeds.
      Imagine if OGG was backed by Spotify ou Google Music.

      > I don’t care about 10% bandwidth savings.

      It doesn’t matter what you care about. It matters what big streaming companies care, and they do care about bandwidth savings…

      > Why would anyone want a codec which will suffocate their PC while watching a 720p video over one which their PC is able to decode almost idling at 4k?

      It suffocates current hardware, because h264 is decoded at hardware level in modern computers. In next couple of years new hardware with AV1 ASIC decoders/encoders will be released, and AV1 playback will be smooth [citation needed].

      1. Yuliya said on September 13, 2018 at 8:25 pm
        Reply

        As I said, from my point of view, or from most users’s, this is worthless. Nobody is asking for the same video to require two or three times the processing power just to be decoded. At least nobody sane. I realise a company like Netflix would love this, they don’t know how to make more money off their customers. Doing anything in your favour stands against every single cell involved in that company. Hardware manufacturers would too love you to adopt this. Making your new device obsolete in two years? of course!

        For the user? This is as useless as it gets. Just like VP9. And just like, to some degree, h265. Diminishing returns at the expense of the cost of new hardware. Or having the battery of your device drained at least twice as fast, or your lap fried by your current machine, if it’s a laptop, that could work as well I guess.

      2. John Fenderson said on September 13, 2018 at 11:04 pm
        Reply

        @Yuliya

        I understand. I was just explaining why it is that there are so many people who are eagerly awaiting AV1. Nobody is saying you have to use it if it doesn’t meet your needs.

      3. NotThatAnonymous said on September 14, 2018 at 4:27 am
        Reply

        >You’re playing with early-adopting technology. If you don’t have a powerful PC, you shouldn’t be playing with AV1 at the moment.

        The latest Firefox survey showed that the VAST MAJORITY of internet users don’t have a dedicated GPU (Intel IGP was ~70-80% of users, IIRC), they still use the integrated GPU on their chipset (which is crappy). This isn’t going to change … EVER.

        >Not even a single big media company (or Apple) tried to enforce OGG to the mainstream.
        AV1 is backed by Mozilla, Google (Youtube), Netflix and a lot of big companies. It’s not a question IF it will succeed, but HOW LONG we will wait until it succeeds.
        Imagine if OGG was backed by Spotify ou Google Music.

        If people can’t play it (due to lack of proper hardware), it will NEVER become mainstream, no matter who is behind the technology. HTML5/h.264 was supposed to replace flash, but flash is still around years later (because some people have older computers, & flash plays better on old hardware). There’s no guarantee that something “better” (from the consumer’s viewpoint) won’t replace AV1 before it’s able to achieve critical mass.

        It suffocates current hardware, because h264 is decoded at hardware level in modern computers. In next couple of years new hardware with AV1 ASIC decoders/encoders will be released, and AV1 playback will be smooth [citation needed].

        Not everyone is an Appletard that upgrade everytime a new product is released. Some of us will use what works until it doesn’t. That way, we’ve got plenty of money leftover for mortgage payments, retirement investing, vacations, etc. (you know, LIFE).

        Ivan you’re response to Yuliya is not only wrong, it’s incredibly arrogant.

    4. jajajajjajajajjajaj said on October 25, 2018 at 9:14 pm
      Reply

      Mh im encoding some video in the background and i can fluently play AV1 1080p youtube videos. Chrome only uses ~15 % so about 1 core only. Doesn’t seem too bad too me. 0/1400 frames dropped, no problem.

      Also to the guy who thinks h264 is the best…. Lmao bro. It produces big files. I dont like big files sry. Also my hardware decoder handles h265 files better than the software decoding shit for h264

  5. Lookmann said on September 13, 2018 at 5:56 pm
    Reply

    Hi Martin,
    I got this message:

    AV1 decoding is not yet available on this browser. For full support, use Chrome 70 or newer, or Firefox 63 or newer with the media.av1.enabled pref set.

    This is written from
    Chromium
    Version 69.0.3497.81 (Official Build) Built on Ubuntu , running on XUbuntu 18.04 (32-bit)

    What is the problem, I wonder.
    [BTW, I ‘ve disabled hardware acceleration to
    avoid ‘freezing’ in Chrome or its clones like Slimjet or Vivaldi]

    1. Anonymous said on September 13, 2018 at 6:39 pm
      Reply

      “use Chrome 70 or newer”
      “This is written from Chromium Version 69.”
      “What is the problem, I wonder.”

  6. Anonymous said on September 13, 2018 at 6:35 pm
    Reply

    Great news, the royalties extortion couldn’t last forever.

  7. Saddam Mohd. said on September 13, 2018 at 9:17 pm
    Reply

    Now that even cheap TVs and all processors have been x265 ready. I can peaceful buy any TV and PC. No need to look for x265 supported or not.

    Meanwhile Google: “AV1”

    Me: NOOOOOOOOOOOO

  8. Deo-et-Patriae said on September 14, 2018 at 4:49 am
    Reply

    Can the kinda new GPUs get HWA for this codec or we need a new series of GPUs? If we need new series, then forget about. H265 plays perfectly anyway on my GTX 1060 6GB.

  9. chesscanoe said on September 14, 2018 at 7:08 am
    Reply

    I must admit VP9 video and audio looks and sounds really well on my 3 year old laptop at 1920*1080 fullscreen. I viewed https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zBBMuMHZthg after specifying Always Use AV1, and VP9 was actually used for above URL. No frames were dropped. The test videos Martin referenced did flicker a lot for me and they were AV1. I used Chrome 70.0.3538.16 under latest Windows 10 1803.

    1. ilev said on September 14, 2018 at 8:54 am
      Reply

      I used Chrome 70.0.3538.16 under latest Windows 10 1803 with Always Use AV1 and AV1 was smooth with GTX 1050i GPU.
      Streaming speed – 44000 Kbps.

      1. chesscanoe said on September 14, 2018 at 6:45 pm
        Reply

        Per web page for my netbook I have Integrated Intel® HD Graphics 5300. I cannot find a way to determine this using Windows 10 1803, but there must be a way. :-(

    2. chesscanoe said on September 14, 2018 at 1:46 pm
      Reply

      My best streaming speed for the URL I provided was 64460 Kbps. FYI

      1. ilev said on September 14, 2018 at 5:49 pm
        Reply

        Is Chrome running using Intel’s GPU or discrete GPU ?
        On my system Chrome in running using GTX 1050 Ti GPU.

    3. chesscanoe said on September 15, 2018 at 2:49 am
      Reply

      Today I installed KB4100314 via Windows Update and then tested AV1 URLs successfully that previously stammered and dropped lots of frames. I assume this fixed my prior negative AV1 experiences.

      1. ilev said on September 15, 2018 at 12:47 pm
        Reply

        What is KB4100314 ?

      2. chesscanoe said on September 15, 2018 at 1:06 pm
        Reply

        Sorry for my typo in spite of checking for errors before posting. KB4100347 fixed my AV1 problems.
        https://news.softpedia.com/news/microsoft-re-releases-kb4100347-for-windows-10-version-1803-522694.shtml

      3. ilev said on September 15, 2018 at 6:21 pm
        Reply

        KB4100347 came pre-installed on my PC last month.

  10. Heimen Stoffels said on September 14, 2018 at 12:51 pm
    Reply

    I thought Chrome was supported? So that would mean that Vivaldi would also be supported, but Testtube says that Vivaldi isn’t supported :/

    1. Anonymous said on October 17, 2018 at 2:50 pm
      Reply

      vivaldi is still on chrome 68/69

  11. Franck said on September 14, 2018 at 2:13 pm
    Reply

    Thanks a lot, looking forward to its mass adoption !

  12. Anonymous said on October 18, 2018 at 3:17 pm
    Reply

    choppy on fast movements with my 6600k even though cpu utilization stays well below 50% in those movements (and generally around 10% in all other scenes)

    excited but wary, the decoder codec might not be mature enough yet

  13. Bilal Korir said on November 14, 2018 at 3:17 am
    Reply

    Today was the first time I tested VA1 on my computer! thank you for the article.

    Looking forward to seeing hardware vendors adopting it and then and only then we can say goodbye to royalty H.264 codec

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